Carolina Panthers quarterback Andy Dalton has high hopes for his squad in 2023, echoing Adam Thielen's comments from when he signed with the team earlier this offseason.
“Andy Dalton agrees with new Carolina WR Adam Thielen that the team could compete for a playoff/Super Bowl this year,” wrote ESPN's David Newton on Wednesday. “He definitely believes the NFC South is there for the taking.”
It's a bold claim from Dalton, who may not even be the starting quarterback this season with the Panthers almost certain to take either CJ Stroud or Bryce Young with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
“Nobody wanted to win the division last year the way it was going,” Dalton told Newton. And the 35-year-old believes Carolina has the team to be at the top of the NFC South in 2023.
He isn't the only one who feels that way.
“Ultimately, [I felt Carolina] was a place that seriously had a chance of winning a Super Bowl. I really do feel strongly with that,” Thielen told Pat McAfee when he signed with the team earlier this offseason.
After signing as an undrafted free agent with the Minnesota Vikings and playing the first 10 years of his career there, Thielen was released in the offseason, and agreed to a three-year deal with the Panthers shortly afterwards.
Carolina will be without DJ Moore next season, as well as a plethora of draft picks; they were all shipped to the Chicago Bears in exchange for the right to select first in April's NFL Draft.
If the stars align, the Panthers could certainly compete to get back into the playoffs next season. But winning a Super Bowl is a tall task for even the best NFL teams, and Carolina is not one of the best NFL teams on paper heading into 2023.
Still, it adds an extra level of intrigue to the season with both Andy Dalton and Adam Thielen believing the team can go all the way.